Residency and Credit Hour Requirements
The program involves a minimum of five academic years of full-time study beyond the baccalaureate degree, which includes four years of full-time coursework (including summer courses) and a year of internship. The graduate school requires candidates to complete, including the dissertation, a minimum of 90 semester hours of graduate work beyond the bachelor’s degree (Graduate Catalog). However, our doctoral program in school psychology asks students to complete, including the dissertation, a minimum of 135 semester hours of graduate work beyond the bachelor’s degree. Our number of graduate credit hours is larger because doctoral candidates in the program must take additional coursework in education, consistent with most school psychology doctoral training programs, as well as complete a cognate (a formally recognized concentration of study, which includes specific courses and/or practica) in which to garner expertise. Therefore, a minimum of 119 semester hours is taken exclusive of credit for internship (6 credit hours) and dissertation (10 credit hours). These credit hours do not include undergraduate or remedial courses designed to remove admission deficiencies. Also, Ball State University residency requirements (Graduate Catalog) stipulate that at least two consecutive semesters of graduate work completed beyond the master’s degree must be in residence at Ball State.
Students who hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution other than Ball State may apply up to 42 of their semester hours to the PhD program; however, they must complete at least two of their four academic training years at Ball State. Prior to enrolling in classes, students are assigned an advisor who will review prior graduate coursework and develop a preliminary plan of study. Once the preliminary plan has been developed, it is submitted to the director, Dr. Andrew Davis, for additional review and approval. During this process, students provide course syllabi for all courses they would like transferred to Ball State and/or to meet program requirements for faculty review. The review is typically conducted by the advisor and the faculty member who has expertise in the content area (e.g., cognitive assessment, human development, statistics). Prior course work must cover the breadth of scientific psychology and the current body of knowledge specific to each content area for it to satisfy program requirements. The transferred credits must meet stipulations that include but are not limited to a minimum student GPA of 3.0 on all graduate work at other institutions; a minimum grade of B (B- does not transfer) on courses considered for transfer; and completion of hours within the seven years allowed for completion of advanced degrees at Ball State.
Students admitted without an undergraduate or master’s degree in psychology may be required to take additional undergraduate level courses in psychology or statistics prior to taking the more advanced courses required in the PhD program.
Competency Review for Students Licensed as School Psychologists or Who Already Have a Master’s Degree in School Psychology
Students admitted to the doctoral program who are licensed as school psychologists or who have completed a master’s degree in school psychology (unless the student obtained the master’s degree in school psychology from Ball State) must demonstrate competencies in assessment, prevention, intervention, and consultation. Students will need to submit a prevention program, a summary of an academic intervention, a summary of a behavioral intervention, and a consultation summary that they have implemented and completed for review by the practicum coordinator and their academic advisor. These samples will be evaluated using the appropriate rubrics. Students may use work samples (de-identified) from their work as a school psychologist or from their master’s program. Students must have an overall rating of proficient or higher on each rubric to meet competency requirements in the areas of evaluation (see below for assessments), prevention, consultation, and intervention. The faculty reviewers will meet and discuss any discrepancies in overall rubric ratings and will come to a mutually agreed upon overall rating. Students who do not receive an overall rating of proficient or higher will be required to take additional coursework, complete additional practica, and/or complete a remediation program designed specifically to help them attain competency in the deficient area. If a remediation program is selected as the best approach to assuring student competency, it will have clearly identified objectives, a clear timeline for completing the objectives, and assessments that are behaviorally anchored. The clinical faculty (practicum coordinator, PDIC director) will work with the student to develop the remediation plan. The practicum coordinator will be responsible for entering the rubric ratings into rGrade. Students must meet with the practicum coordinator early in their first semester to outline the process for meeting the aforementioned requirements. If it is decided that a remediation plan will be developed, it must be developed no later then the end of fall semester. All requirements (prevention program, academic intervention, behavioral intervention, etc.) must be completed by the end of the spring semester of the first year.
All students who are licensed school psychologists or who have completed a master’s degree in school psychology (unless the student obtained the master’s degree in school psychology from Ball State) must take our ethics exam. The ethics exam will be offered once during the fall semester and may be taken when offered in EDPS 685: Introduction to School Psychology course. The instructor for EDPS 685 will work with students on arranging a time and providing appropriate study materials. Students must obtain a score of 80% or higher on the ethics exam to meet the minimal level of competency. Students will continue to take the ethics exam until they have met the minimal level of competency. The instructor for EDPS 685 is responsible for entering the scores into rGrade.
Practicum and Students Admitted with a Master’s or Educational Specialist Degree
Students who are admitted with a master’s degree other than in school psychology will be required to complete the prepracticum and practicum sequence of courses. Students with a master’s degree or educational specialist degree in school psychology (including licensed school psychologists) will be required to complete two cases in the Psychoeducational, Diagnostic, and Intervention Clinic to assess their assessment, interview, and diagnostic skills. The student’s supervisor (licensed psychologist) will rate each report using the Psychoeducational Report Grading Rubric. Students must have an overall rating of proficient or higher on each rubric to meet competency requirements in the area of evaluation. Based upon the two assessments and rubrics, the director of the PDIC and the student’s supervisor will determine whether additional practicum hours are needed for the student to meet program competencies in the area of assessment. Students who do not receive an overall rating of proficient or higher may be required to take additional coursework, complete additional practica, and/or complete a remediation program designed specifically to help them attain competency in assessment. If a remediation program is selected as the best approach to assuring student competency, it will have clearly identified objectives, a clear time-line for completing the objectives, and all assessments will be behaviorally anchored. The student’s supervisor will work with the student to develop the remediation plan. The student’s supervisor is responsible for providing the practicum coordinator with the graded rubrics, who then will be responsible for entering the rubric ratings into rGrade. Students must meet with the practicum coordinator early in their first semester to outline the process for meeting the aforementioned requirements. If it is decided that a remediation plan will be developed, it must be developed no later then the end of fall semester. The two cases must be completed by the end of the spring semester of the first year.
Students will need to demonstrate prior practica that are comparable to those required of the program to receive credit for the experience. The student must provide logs or other documentary evidence demonstrating the number of practicum hours completed prior to admission to Ball State. The number of practicum hours accrued must meet the number of hours required by program, which is 550. Specifically, no actual hours will be credited toward the completion of the minimum number of practicum hours other than those documented by prior course work and approved by the director, Dr. Andrew Davis, with input and discussion with the core faculty. If needed, core faculty will discuss each student’s prior experiences, and modify/tailor the program’s expectations to reflect the individual needs and skills of the student prior to enrollment in the program.
Usually, during the first two years in the program, the only employment assignments for doctoral students are their doctoral assistantships. Graduate assistants ordinarily should not accept outside employment. If a limited amount (10 hours or less) of outside employment is deemed advisable, such employment must be approved by Dr. Janay Sander, Director of Doctoral Internships. The Student Handbook and Program Policies manual outlines the process for gaining approval for outside employment. It should be noted that outside employment is typically not approved for students who are completing their first and second year in the program. If such additional employment is at Ball State, the approval of the dean of the graduate school also is necessary.